Whiting Award winner Adam Johnson says the aspiring writers in his classes these days are being a little too cute with the subtleties. “‘What happened? What was it about?’ he asks his students. ‘I didn’t want to hit you over the head with it,’ they reply. ‘Hit me over the head with what?’”
Lizzie Skurnick on a star-studded event honoring Judy Blume: “Her controversy wasn’t based on her attention to the illicit. It was based on her attention to the ordinary.”
Tom Perrotta figures people don’t cheat on their spouses nearly as much as novelists suggest they do.
A comprehensive collection of Ernest Hemingway‘s letters is nearing completion.
Cormac McCarthy has signed a few copies of The Road, and no, you can’t have them.
William Faulkner‘s old residence in New Orleans is holding up well, post-Katrina.
Shanthi Sekaran: “When an Indian American writer portrays India, a reader will already have seen five other portrayals in other books and inject what they’ve seen before…. That leads readers to overlook other aspects of an immigrant experience.”
The owners of Chicago bookstore Women and Children First aren’t buying the statement that there are as many as 30 feminist bookstores in the country.
Daniel Alarcon on Americans’ disinterest in reading works in translation: “There’s a certain curiosity about the world that’s not matched by a willingness to do the work…. So what happens is that writers of foreign extraction end up writing about the world for Americans.” (via Bookslut)
A great wide-ranging interview in the Morning News with Tobias Wolff about writing programs, the state of short fiction, the novel he’s working on, the Richard Price novel he’s reading, and more.
Dear Stanford Daily: Here’s the thing. If an anonymous student tells you that Wolff regularly takes swigs “from a flask with unknown contents” in class, it’s pretty much imperative upon you to ring him up for a comment. Then he could tell you whether what’s in the flask is innocuous or not, avoiding any need for golly-who-knows-what-he’s-drinking weasel-wording. Regardless, you’re bound to get a story out of it, and telling stories is something he’s pretty good at. Give it a try.